Hello friends and gentlefolk! I come to you as the proud owner of the perfect jean jacket that I’ve been searching for for many months and someone deeply moved by the Netflix adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before [the whole world is now as in love with Peter Kavinsky as I am, which is just as it should be!] Indeed, both adaptations I urged you to check out last week, this and Crazy Rich Asians, are excellent and I can’t wait to watch them many, many more times.
I also want to say, on the topic of Crazy Rich Asians, that if you want to see it in the theater but haven’t read the book yet and are like me and have difficulties reading the book after seeing the movie, I don’t think that’ll be an issue in this case. The movie was a splendid adaptation — faithful to the plot, characters, themes, and tone — but I realized halfway through that some of the things I most loved about the book simply aren’t translatable into movie form. The book is chockful of details and footnotes about everyone’s backstory and outfit and net worth and the narration is so much fun. I think the book and movie complement each other well and that getting all the extra details when reading the book would actually be really fun if you’ve already seen the movie.
Now onto this week’s books!
Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli
I’ve talked here before about Albertalli’s books Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda [the source for the recent (excellent) movie Love, Simon] and The Upside of Unrequited and how much I adore the way she writes about teenagers and their crushes and friendships. Her third book focuses on one of the main characters in Simon — his close friend Leah, a reserved drummer who is also, unbeknownst to him, bisexual.
My experience reading this one was a little different from the others. I still loved it, and loved Leah, but she’s a different sort of protagonist than Simon or Molly [the main character in Upside] — a bit pricklier, a bit less interested in winning you over, and a bit more watchful. Albertalli does an excellent job of creating a character so different from her former protagonists that the reader cares about just as much, and I loved spending time with Leah and her friends. I don’t know if she’s going to keep writing about this group of friends, but I’m excited to keep reading whatever she puts out.
I have been laughing about this extremely niche tweet for a solid 12 days and am considering printing it out and putting it on my bedroom wall. [Related: Kristen Arnett is one of my favorite follows on Twitter and also she recently had a short story published here and it’s delightfully creepy.]
Lorrie Moore is primarily known as a short story writer, though she has written a couple of novels. I first encountered her through her short story collection Birds of America, which is still my favorite of hers. Truly before reading Birds I didn’t think I liked short stories very much, but Moore’s make me chuckle heartily and underline heavily, and I think about them for months after finishing. This is an earlier collection, and I still like Birds more, but the Moore delightfulness is all there.
This is a bonus book because I didn’t read it this week, but thinking about Lorrie Moore reminded me of these short stories that I read around the same time as Birds. These stories are extremely funny and delightful until they take you by surprise with a little bit of sadness or a “whoa” moment. My personal favorites among them are “The Wainscoting War” and “Dumpster Diving with the Stars,” but they’re all fun and read pretty quickly.
A fun note regarding future shout/countershouting: for awhile now, my friend Taylor (the first of her countershouting kind!) and I have been loosely planning on both reading and discussing Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel. I’m not sure exacccctly when that’s going to happen, but if you’d like to read along with us and not be spoiled by our future discussion, here’s your heads-up!
I am still working through Two Towers and still rolling my eyes whenever anyone abruptly breaks into song.
Have a great week! Go see Crazy Rich Asians! Bye!